Fracking report due soon

By LAWRENCE GULLERY

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The woman heading an independent report on the controversial oil-drilling method known as fracking expects the Government will act on, rather than ignore, her recommendations when they're delivered to Parliament in November.

New Zealand's Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, was in Hawke's Bay yesterday to speak to people about fracking as part of her role to research and write a report on the issue. She took up her independent role five years ago.

"What's different about this report is that it's done in response to something that was very high profile," she said. "There is going to be a lot more expectation and more interest from people when it comes out and what I will say is that those expectations are stronger than usual."

Those waiting for a copy include the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, which requested Mrs Wright research fracking this year to help its councillors better understand its environmental impacts.

The council is not, however, obligated to consider the report's recommendations when, or if, deliberating over a resource consent for oil exploration under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

But she indicated the Government would strongly encourage councils to take note of her recommendations.

"I believe the Minister for Energy, Phil Heatley, has said the Government will be considering the recommendations very carefully and, of course, central government has mechanisms if they want regional government to do things. This is an issue that central government has become very interested and involved in, so it's not all about the RMA."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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